karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Default)
The Fantastic Films Weekend is an annual, three-day festival of horror, fantasy and SciFi films at the National Media Museum in Bradford.
I'd arrived already arrived on Thursday evening, had a good night's sleep and was ready for the onslaught of films I was going to watch.
Friday
The first film was Bloodbath at the House of Death. Only knowing that Vincent Price was in it and having cultural reference fail regarding Kenny Everett, I had no idea what to expect, not an early slasher horror, but a horror comedy, a farce even (the fact that John Fortune was in it should have been a giveaway). As soon as I had realised what was going on and switched my mindset, it was incredibly good fun. Extremely cheesy and bad but in a good way. I can only recommend trying to find this on DVD.

Then, the seminal Horror Express. Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and later in a surprise role as a Kosak captain, Telly Savalas fight an ancient evil unleashed on the Transibirian Express. This film is shown at the fest each year so most attendees know it inside out and anticipate and play along with certain lines and scenes. On your own with the DVD on your TV this might be a bad film but among a group of likeminded people on the big screen, this is glorious.

Afterwards, a Horizon special in TV Heaven (the section of the museum devoted to television) on SciFi which had interviews with the likes of Arthur C Clarke and Asimov talking about their visions. Now, 60 years on, very fascinating indeed in terms of their predictions and what has and hasn't become reality. This documentary also contains the only surviving clips of Peter Sasdy's adaption of the Asimov story The Caves of Steel. Sasdy was at the screening and it was the first time he'd actually seen any of it as he hadn't received a copy of the finished product and the BBC wiped the material (along with many other early productions).

My first film in the evening was Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, the extremely cheesy Hammer/Kung Fu crossover with Peter Cushing as Van Helsing for the last time. This bizarre crossover of Hammer horror and Kung Fu action worked for some reason (Dracula travels to China to revive the titular Chinese vampires) or possibly because the combination was so weird. There was spontaneous applause from the audience after the first mass fight scene, for example. If I had to state one negative it would be that the final confrontation was rather rushed and anti-climactic.

Then, a quick jog to the Cubby (the other screen at the museum) for the screentalk with Peter Sasdy, veteran director of both classic TV and Hammer films. I enjoyed this immensely, not just because of the insight he gave into his work and the amusing anecdotes but also his genuine honesty and modesty. What a wonderful person. He answered questions from the audience willingly and extensively and afterwards very happily signed autgraphs and chatted to the attendees.


Then, the midnight screamer, the director's cut of The Exorcist in a beautiful print. The Pictureville screen was very well filled indeed and not just by festival attendees (all screenings are open to the public with the festival passes granting a free ticket to any film) but others who came for the chance to see this classic on the big screen. This cut isn't my favourite as it's a bit too long in places but it was still excellent and so much better on the big screen than on TV.

Saturday
First up, the original Clash of the Titans, with wonderful stop motion creatures by Ray Harryhausen. I'd seen it quite a few times on telly but never on the big screen so that was a treat I didn't want to miss.

Next, the TV version of Hound of the Baskervilles with Peter Cushing as Holmes. It was alirght, had a few good moments but was stretched too long (originally aired as two 50 minute episodes).

The first set of shorts with the subtitle Suffer The Little Children was next on my list. These were hit and miss, the first one, The Happy Children, an almost Lovecraftian account of a seaside town (filmed in Whitby) which wasn't bad at all, Darkness Within was pointless torture porn, Endless was a weird slow-motion thing with some interesting SFX, Intercambio was pseudo-artsy rubbish about cannibalism in war times but then, CLICK with a group of kids exploring an abandoned warehouse and playing with a lightswitch. This was superb, very simply made but very effective and the young actors were excellent. The last one, The Elemental about something horrible occupying the staircase of an old apartment building was also good, with some tense moments and a good, moody atmosphere. Two photos, Mark Goodall, director of The Happy Children, and William Prince, director of CLICK:
Mark Goodall William Prince


The evening began with Twins of Evil, classic Hammer fare (the third in the von Karnstein trilogy of four and in my opinion the best) with Peter Cushing (oh look, there he was again) as a Puritan witch hunter, an evil vampire lord in a castle and the two titular twins who were mostly clad in flimsy nightgowns. Very entertaining and especially the candle fondling had everyone in stitches.

To conclude the evening, I shunned Rutger Hauer's Hobo with a Shotgun in favour of the Vincent Price double bill. First, a TV interview (by David Del Valle) called The Sinister Image which was both insightful and entertaining and then An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe, four of Poe's stories, recited by Price, sitting in a set. Very good indeed.
Sunday
First film was Let's Scare Jessica to Death, a bit of a slow burner with a mostly hysterical main character but it had some OK passages. The magenta print probably didn't help.

Next up was C.H.U.D., a fun radioactive monster film with an underhanded political message but mostly fun, well paced and really enjoyable. Cheesy fun, perfect for an early Sunday afternoon, one of the highlights of the day for me.

Then, the "British Horror Revival" collection of shorts. These were divided among two filmmakers, Ashley Thorpe (who randomly happens to sit at our table right now) and Rob Nevitt.
The former showed three films (or, 2 and a half, as the second died during the screening), Hammer influenced mixed media animations. Really interesting stuff.
Nevitt's work was more conventional film work, with one being shot on one Super 8 cartridge without any post editing of a brutal picnic and the last one, Mortified being a kid's party gone horribly wrong.
Ashley Thorpe Rob Nevitt


The final Hammer film today was Countess Dracula in which the seminal (and luscious) Ingrid Pitt played Elizabeth Bathory. It was the first time I'd seen it and I really liked it. It wasn't as cheesy as the others but genuinely moving in places and well done, too.

After a quick dinner I headed into the Cubby for the last time for Herbert West: Re-Animator which turned out to be the most complete and uncut version I've seen (a print sourced from a private collection in the US). It made for a highly entertaining and thrilling conclusion to another awesome Fantastic Films Weekend, prompting spontaneous applause both during and after the film.

Before he introduced the film, the festival director Tony Earnshaw stated that due to current economic climate the future of the festival might be in danger. However, this year's was the most successful and well attended so this gives hope for the future and with increased coverage by the media, blogs and social media, we will hopefully see another one. If you would like to spread the word, contact details are on the website. Here's Tony:
Tony Earnshaw
karohemd: (Photo)
The Fantastic Films Weekend is an annual film festival concentrating on Horror, SciFi and similar genres in Bradford.

Friday - Fantasma symposium, Short Films, Lizard in a Woman's Skin, Zone of the Dead incl. photos )

Saturday - Three Cases of Murder, Shadow, Horror Express, The Giant Spider Invasion, Michael Armstrong, Mark of the Devil, Birdemic, James Nguyen )

Sunday - Psycho, TV, Patrick, Stanley A. Long, Screamtime, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue )

All in all, an excellent festival with excellent films, good friends old and new. Really sad it's over.

Note: All photos are released under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike licence which means you're free to repost them under the provision you don't make any money off them, credit me with a link (either to this post or the relevant flickr page) and release the photos on your page in the same way.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)
Yesterday was great.
First up was the excellent Three Cases of Murder. All three segments were good but the first one fitted the bill best (painting coming to life). Highly recommended and reasonably easy to catch as it's now out on DVD.

Then there was Shadow, a easonably new film, somewhere between Jacob's Ladder, 70's slasher and Hostel. Rather violent and gory so if torture porn isn't your thing, it's not for you. I didn't have many problems with it, just the luscious, deep deciduous forest that was supposed to be in Iraq(!).

Next up, the seminal and by now traditional Horror Express with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and randomly, Telly Savalas as a Kosak captain (not a Hammer production but an Italian one). Good, cheesy fun and hearing [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat's reactions to the pseudo science was hilarious.

Staying with low-budget cheese, we watched The Giant Spider Invasion next and that was hilarious, too. Again, mucho pseudo science about black holes and gamma radiation. The giant spider monster was one of the best props ever and the acting was on par, too. Big kudos to them for using real spiders (tarantulas etc.) for the smaller ones, though. Very good fun and everybody loved it.

After that, I had a bit of a break and a drink and nice long chat with @Crawther, which was nice.
We sat in Centenniary Square chatting away and almost forgot the time but managed to get back for the screentalk with Michael Armstrong, director of Mark of the Devil, House of the long Shadows etc. It was really interesting and entertaining, Armstrong is a very charming and funny character. He talked about The Image, his first short film (also at the FFW), obv. a lot about Mark of the Devil as that was shown afterwards and other projects as well as one (prompted by an audience member) about a planned documentary with the Sex Pistols.

The above mentioned Mark of the Devil was next and rather disappointing. Obv. a low budget affair and far from being as shocking or visceral as he wanted us to believe during his talk. A bit rubbish really but not too bad (I think I had a higher opinion of it than [livejournal.com profile] miss_s_b).
I just had to giggle when during the opening credits Herbert Fux was mentioned who I and many Germans my age and older will associate with really bad (sex) comedies during the late 70s/early 80s so to see him in a rather serious role was odd. He's done serious stuff since but I think his main image is that of being in bad comedy flicks.

We had a gap before the midnight screamer so [livejournal.com profile] miss_s_b, [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat, [livejournal.com profile] matgb, someone I only know vaguely from last year and I went for a couple of drinks.

Back in time for midnight, we briefly met James Nguyen, director of Birdemic, who signed coathangers for us (this will become important later on).
Birdemic: Shock and Terror is a remarkable, hard to describe film. It's equally the worst and best film ever made. With a budget of $10,000, rubbish actors, guerilla camera action and the worst CGI in movie history, it's a specatcle that has to be seen to pass any judgment on. It already has a cult following in the US and is somewhat of a phenomenon.
The director stayed for a chat with Tony Earnshaw which was just as unbelievable as the film. A really nice and charming guy, though, and I am looking forward to the sequel.

two photos of James Nguyen )

And now I'm off to see Psycho on the big screen for the first time.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)
The website is finally live.
The film schedule is there as well. Quite a few I don't know so this could be interesting. Psycho on the big screen is not to be missed, the 28 double bill should be good and there ar two Cronenberg films. Unlike last year, only two films are shown multiple times (Psycho and the short films), which makes picking slots a little trickier.
Shame Horror Express is on so early, this should be the midnight special on Saturday night.
More oddness, "Zone of the Dead" is the same film as "Apocalypse of the Dead". Someone tell them, please, this might confuse a few people.

No sight of Wrath of Kkan, again, despite promises. Why?
Shame that Colin didn't make it, either. That would have been cool.

So, who's going? Can't wait to see [livejournal.com profile] miss_s_b and [livejournal.com profile] matgb, [livejournal.com profile] pmoodie and El, [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat?, @Crawther, the Brit horror forum crowd and other random cool people you meet at such events.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)
I quite fancy seeing the original Dracula on the big screen at the Arts. Monday at 7 would be best for me. Scratch that, it's not on at 7 on Monday. Hm, need to have a think.

Funny how times have changed. It's now a 12A (and I'm quite sure the first time I saw it on TV I was around that age) but when it was first released, they barely got it past the censors.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)
I need to see Die Hard 4.0, Ocean's 13 and Shrek the Third. The first and the last will be on for a while but O13 might disappear soon so I'd like to see this one first, Tuesday, 6:30, VUE. Anyone fancy coming along?
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Pyrate)
PotC 3 is out this week.
Anyone fancy a (ideally costumed) trip to the cinema next week, Tuesday at the VUE, for example?
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)
Arts, 8.30, tonight, The Lives of Others

Anyone fancy coming along? As it's open seating on Monday, I'll try and be there a bit after 8.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)
The Lives of Others, Arts, Monday, 8:30

Curse of the Golden Flower, VUE, Tuesday, 18:30

Anyone want to join me?
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)

Anyone fancy coming along to see Smokin' Aces on Tuesday, 21:20, VUE? (cheap tickets)
Looks like a fun ride from the trailer and the high imdb rating seems to suggest it's cool.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)

I've been told by many people that it's a film not to miss so I'm going to see it tonight.
Anyone up for joining me at the VUE, 20:50? I'd go tomorrow but I'm doing Lordi tomorrow...
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)

Who's up for coming along on Monday (4th), 19:00, Arts Picturehouse?

Fearless

5 Jul 2006 01:33 pm
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)

As it's too humid outside to sit somewhere and read, a short cinema review:

After more cringeworthy chats with people at the Bun Shop I went to see Fearless, the latest Jet Li film (and his last martial arts one, apparently) which is freely based on the story of Huo Yuanjia.
It was very interesting to see the different acting style in this film compared to his Western films (the superb Unleashed, for example), it was typically OTT Chinese.
It's hard to review the film without giving much of the plot away but it's good and not just a Wushu slaughterfest. There's quite a bit of wirework and other trickery in the fight scenes but not as extreme as in House of Flying Daggers or others.
The second part of the film is the better one, IMHO, as it has more plot and shows Li's acting talent, too. I wasn't very impressed with the first part but the rest certainly turned it around for me.

Oh well, back to the grindstone.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)

As the Arts is just a hop from the Avery, anyone fancy seeing Brick tonight, 21:15?
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)

Henry Rollins now has his own show on IFC talking about films and stuff. That would be really interesting. According to his blog, he'll interview Eddie Izzard this week (not sure when that will be aired). *sob*
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)
Cineworld now finally do Unlimited cards which cost £10.99 a month and you can go and see as many films as you want at any Cineworld cinema (if you want West End, it costs 3 quid extra).
Current prices (way over £6) mean it already pays if you only go twice a month.

Woo and indeed Yay!
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)
Google UK have a handy page with all the cinemas in Cambridge and Huntingdon.
(also found by [livejournal.com profile] emperor)
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)
Tomorrow, 7pm, VUE.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)
As it's the last unbusy evening before I leave (still so much to do!), I'm going to see it tonight.
VUE, 20:30. Anyone want to join me? Comment here until 7:30 ish or txt.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Cinema)
Is on at the Arts Picturehouse this week.
Anyone fancy joining me tonight? (film starts at 8:30, I'll be there from 8 or so to make sure I get a ticket). Films are usually not on for long at the Arts and tonight is the only time I can make it.

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